Thursday, July 09, 2009

Of course work sucks

William Browning Spencer is an underappreciated novelist in the vein of Tim Powers, James Blaylock and Jonathan Carroll. He writes stories of men, often writers, beset by terrible supernatural forces. I loved his Zod Wallop and I recently got my hands on a copy of his Resume with Monsters. When I say underappreciated, you should read that also as out of print. The status of his book would certainly vex his main character, Phillip Kenan, who fights through dead end job after dead end job in hopes of getting his massive novel published.

Phillip's daily drudgery is made all the worse by this constant combat with Lovecraftian forces. I don't mean alluding to Lovecraft, but actual Cthulhu mythos creatures like Azathoth and the Old Ones. This shouldn't work well, but until the very end of the book, it is not clear whether Kenan is delusional or is really fighting eldrictch foes. Spencer writes the loner who no one believes quite well.

Spencer spends a lot of time satirizing the work place in this book. It gets better as it goes along. It isn't a pretty vision, as he has hate for companies large and small, but I still found it amusing.

This book is a bit like the Atrocity Archives, and a lot like the Kings of Infinite Space. I think the author of the latter was more than a little inspired by Spencer's book. The latter book is funnier, but the Spencer book has its charms. The most significant are the wild swings in plot. Much of what happens is completely unexpected. The book is a tad long for what it is, but it is worth reading. Note, I tried this book three years ago and gave up on it. Here is what I thought then. Starting over, I can see why I gave up on it, but I am glad I stuck with it. I was somehow more ready for it this time.

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